(b. 1477, Vercelli, d. 1549, Siena)

View of the Cappella di Santa Caterina

San Domenico, Siena

In the Cappella di Santa Caterina of the Sienese church of San Domenico, Sodoma's mural paintings dominate the decoration. The chapel was built in the late fifteenth century to house the relic of St Catherine's head in a marble tabernacle. Sodoma transformed the space to appear as if it were an open loggia resting on piers. The real altar is continued to the side as a painted balustrade, above which, in a wide opening on the left Catherine is seen fainting and, on the right, in ecstasy.

Only the left-hand wall showing Catherine saving the soul of Niccolò di Tuldo was completed by Sodoma. Here the artist uses particular means to bring us close to the scene: the lower balustrade is wide open; steps seem to lead out of the chapel to the site of the execution.